Dennis Hildeby selects his first NHL jersey number
Photo credit: Toronto Sun

Leafs rookie selects NHL jersey number, becomes the first goalie in franchise history to wear it

Published January 2, 2024 at 1:05 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs are hoping that rookie netminder Dennis Hildeby's luck is much better than that of 26-year-old Ilya Samsonov, who has been playing well below NHL-caliber hockey for the duration of the 2023-24 season.

We've all seen the numbers, we'll all seen the record. Samsonov has not been good enough and that's an understatement. As a result of his poor play, the Leafs waived Samsonov on Sunday and much to the surprise of those within Leafs Nation, the Russian netminder cleared and is now eligible to be sent to the American Hockey League to get his game going.

In a corresponding move, Hildeby has been called up and has joined the Leafs on their California road trip - but not before selecting his official jersey number for the Maple Leafs. Hildeby has chosen the same number he has been wearing in the AHL this season, #41.




Throughout the history of the organization, no goaltender has ever worn the #41, which makes Hildeby's selection very unique. Aside from goaltenders, though, 8 other Leafs skaters have worn #41, starting with winger Paul Gagne, who wore it back in 1989.

Hildeby's #41 was last worn by Dmytro Timashov back in 2020, and by Nikita Soshnikov before that in 2016. Arguably the most famous Leaf on the list to wear #41 was Nikolai Kulemin, who wore it from 2009-2014.

Some of the more famous goaltenders to have worn the #41 across the NHL include Mike Smith, Jaroslav Halak and, of course, Jocelyn Thibault.
POLL
January 2   |   1555 answers
Leafs rookie selects NHL jersey number, becomes the first goalie in franchise history to wear it

How long will Dennis Hildeby's first run with the Leafs last?

1 week1278.2 %
2 weeks23214.9 %
3 weeks15810.2 %
He's not going back down until Woll returns103866.8 %
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